Sat, Jul 31, 2004 - Page 11 News List

WTO reaches consensus on industrial tariff issue

CNA , Geneva

Taiwan will in principle accept a new draft framework worked out at the last minute by the World Trade Organization (WTO) to advance the Doha round of talks, Yen Ching-chang (顏慶章), Taiwan's permanent envoy to the world's top trade organization, said yesterday.

In order to continue global trade talks, Taiwan will in principle accept the WTO's newly revised framework, with the exception of terms regarding key agricultural issues, Yen said.

Yen made the remarks after the WTO released a new compromise draft of the July package at the last minute before a Friday deadline during a three-day negotiation meeting in Geneva, in which representatives of all 147 WTO member states took part.

The Taiwanese delegates did their best to protect the country's interests in the meeting through a joint offensive built upon with other countries which share a common stance with Taiwan, Yen said.

As the draft package has not made any changes to the agriculture section -- the most contentious field among member states -- regarding tariff restriction quotas and tariff cuts, which the Group of 10 (G10) have strongly opposed, Yen said that Taiwan will not make any comment on its own in this field for the time being.

Economic Affairs Vice Minister Chen Ruey-lung, who attended the meeting, echoed Yen's remarks and said that consensus reached on industrial tariffs and trade facilitation will largely help boost Taiwan's exports and industrial development.

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